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You Tell the Consul, I Have 5 Children, Latest Berlin Game

(Curtain)

themselves trusting not even their friends.

Newspapermen, striving for accuracy in reporting an extremely delicate situation, find that their sources of news have been blotted out in the administration’s campaign for favorable propaganda. Courts and laws have been created and rigidly enforced, making it a punishable offense to utter any but favorable comment on governmental policies. Citizens will not discuss events or conditions confidentially—let alone for publication.

TENSION AND SUSPICION

A tableau which took place in the office of an American correspondent today represents the tension and suspicion which exists among the Jews in Berlin. The incident in itself is unimportant, inasmuch as many similar occurrences crop up every day.

The curtain rises on a small news office. Only the correspondent, an American, is there. He looks up as a slight tapping is heard at the door.

Correspondent: Come in!

The door opens an inch and the nose, closely following by the face of Levinsky, a Latvian Jewish correspondent, penetrates the gradually widening crack. Levinsky looks furtively about the room, assuring himself that no one is hiding under the desks.

Levinsky: My neighbor, Cohen the dentist, and his brother were taken by storm troopers two days ago. Will you inform the Polish consulate for me? They were Poles, you know.

Again the door opens. Bernstein, an American Jew, enters, looks under the sofa and behind the portiers. He turns his glance toward Levinsky.

Bernstein: Have you told him? About Cohen, I mean.

Correspondent: Yes, he has told me; but I cannot report the affair. I haven’t seen the Cohen apartment, much less the abduction. One of you will have to do the reporting.

ENTER, MRS. GOLD

The door opens to admit Mrs. Gold, a German Jewess.

Mrs. Gold: Ah, you have told him. About Cohen, I mean. (As an afterthought). Have you looked under the sofa? Are we alone?

Bernstein: Perhaps Mrs. Gold will report the case to the consul.

Mrs. Gold: And be thrown into a concentration camp. Not much.

(With the correspondent and Mrs. Gold eliminated, Levinsky looks at Bernstein, and Bernstein looks at Levinsky.)

Levinsky: You tell the consul.

Bernstein: No, you tell the consul. I have a wife and four kids.

Levinsky: You tell the consul. I have a wife, mother, and five kids.

(For ten minutes the room reverberates with, “You tell the consul.” With a fearless gesture, the correspondent rises, lays his business card on the lap of Levinsky and raises an impatient hand.)

Correspondent: All this palaver over such a little matter! Tch. Tch. Give this card to Bollovsky at the consulate, and he will fix everything. The consulate fixes everything very secretly. You don’t have to worry about a thing. I wish I had seen the arrest. I’d report it, all right.

Levinsky: (handing the card to Bernstein). You do it.

Bernstein: No, you do it.

COURAGEOUS CORRESPONDENT

(After fifteen minutes of “you do it,” Levinsky wins the argument by one mother and one kid, with Bernstein promising to co-report if necessary. They file from the room.)

Correspondent: (over telephone) Hello, Bollovsky. A friend of mine is coming down there to report an incident. He will give you my card. Tear it up, and don’t let my name be connected with the case in any way, will you?

The oddest feature of the situation is the unflagging patriotism of a large majority of Jews here; who, when not motivated by fear of consequences, refuse to give information to the press because of the effect such information will have abroad.

THE JEWS ARE LOYAL

It has been argued by correspondents that a complete airing of conditions in Germany may go far toward tempering Nazi action against Jews here. But this argument has been vain. The Jews in Germany have staunchly refused to let down the administration, which they rather pathetically consider their government.

The world has haloed the memory of soldiers who have faithfully stood by governments under trying conditions, who have offered their health and lives so that they might prove themselves worthy of the trust their rulers had put in them.

These trying times have produced an even more glorious hero: The man who stands in a shambles of disillusionment striving to defend an ideal that has long since turned sour.

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